Majority of U.S. House Supports Value of Pharmacists to Patients
Friday, October 9, 2015
Posted by: Kathleen Goodner
CONTACT: David Shaman
WASHINGTON, DC – APhA is thrilled to announce that this week, The Pharmacy and Medically Underserved Areas Enhancement Act (H.R. 592/S. 314) reached an important milestone in the U.S. House of Representatives, having a majority of members support the legislation. The legislation, introduced earlier this year by Representatives Brett Guthrie (R-KY), G.K. Butterfield (D-NC), Todd Young (R-IN), and Ron Kind (D-WI), enables seniors in medically underserved communities to access those pharmacists’ patient care services which are allowed by state scope of practice laws through Medicare Part B coverage. The companion bill in the U.S. Senate (S. 314), introduced by Senators Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Robert Casey (D-PA), and Mark Kirk (R-IL), has 31 co-sponsors.
With 219 of the 435 House of Representatives’ members signed on as sponsors and co-sponsors to the bill, APhA looks forward to the opportunity to work with Congress to help millions of medically underserved Medicare beneficiaries access health care through pharmacist-provided services."This is a crucial moment in the public debate on how to improve health care access and how to reduce America's health care costs," said APhA Executive Vice President and CEO, Thomas E. Menighan, BSPharm, MBA, ScD (Hon), FAPhA. “National surveys show Americans believe pharmacists are integral members of their health care team. Now, the majority of the U.S. House has stated that they agree."
The bill seeks to increase access and improve quality by enabling pharmacists to provide patient care services consistent with their education, training and license. Menighan noted pharmacists today are providing a broad spectrum of services, including managing chronic diseases, performing medication management, administering immunizations, conducting health and wellness testing, and working in and partnering with hospitals and health systems to advance health and wellness and helping to reduce hospital re-admissions.
The bill's proponents note millions of Americans lack adequate access to primary health care and this is only expected to get worse as demand increases. Over the next 15 years, the number of Medicare enrollees will likely increase from roughly 55 million to over 80 million. In addition, millions of individuals are gaining health coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).
"There is need for improving access to health care and for most Americans, pharmacists are already on the front lines of their health care," Menighan said. "The primary goal of the bill is to expand access for those seniors in medically underserved communities and our Nation’s 300,000 pharmacists stand ready to help.”
About the American Pharmacists Association
The American Pharmacists Association, founded in 1852 as the American Pharmaceutical Association, is a 501 (c)(6) organization, representing more than 62,000 practicing pharmacists, pharmaceutical scientists, student pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and others interested in advancing the profession. APhA, dedicated to helping all pharmacists improve medication use and advance patient care, is the first-established and largest association of pharmacists in the United States. For more information, please visit www.pharmacist.com.
About Pharmacists Provide Care Campaign
The Pharmacists Provide Care Campaign is dedicated to promoting patient access to health care through pharmacists’ patient care services. The national campaign provides information on the value pharmacists provide to patients and the health care system. Pharmacists are highly educated and trained health care providers and as a member of the patient’s health care team positively affect quality, outcomes and cost. For more information, please visit www.PharmacistsProvideCare.com.